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2oo7 Book Reviews119 Massey divides the book into three sections—the early years of the cattle kingdom, the boom years, and the period ofdecline—and shows how women were involved at all times. Some ofthe women (like Matthews) are scarcely known, while others made a name for themselves during their own lifetimes, such as Molly Goodnight , wife ofthe co-creator ofthe Goodnight-LovingTrail. Interestingly, manywere known by their contemporaries as the first woman ever to ride with the herds. This clearly indicates how valuable such a work as Texas Women is; it brings together a previously scattered wealth of information into one book. As a result, the work benefits both pleasure reader and researcher.Joyce Gibson Roach's introduction ties all the sketches together, providing the historiographical framework upon which the stories rest. Americans continue to scrutinize the American West into the twenty-first century . Its myths and its truths will always draw an eager audience. In the ever-growing mass of Western scholarship, Texas Women provides an enjoyable exploration of a field only recendy expanded. HeritageFarmstead Museum, PianoAdrienne Caughfield Crossing the Rio Grande: An Immigrant's Life in the 1880s. By Luis G. Gómez. Translated with commentary by Guadalupe ValdezJr., introduction by Thomas H. Kreneck. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2006. Pp. 1 24. Map, illustrations, notes, index. ISBN 1585445142. $23.00, cloth.) In 1884 a young man crossed from Matamoros to Brownsville fleeing conflict in Mexico and seeking his fortune in Texas. As a scenario this has no particularly unusual traits. In fact, it's almost commonplace. What makes the tale engaging in this case is the voice telling it. A distinct personality resonates throughout this delightful book and pulls the reader back in time to contemplate many ofthe same elements that make up the contemporary immigration debate. In 1 935 Luis G. Gómez, by then an elderly man, privately published the first volume of his memoirs as a guide to young readers. He also thought his story entertaining. Reference appears to a second volume, but there's no evidence to suggest it was ever published or even completed. This updated version is both an expression offamily devotion (the primary translator is the author's grandson) and an effort to preserve the experience of a past generation ofTexas immigrants. It's essentially a transcribed oral history that allows the reader access to an immigrant's "rhythm of life" (p. 3). Thomas Kreneck's introduction does an admirablejob of placing the work in context, while Mr. Valdez's recollections offer a brief sketch of the author in later years. These help the reader prepare for the work's flowery prose, which the translation leaves intact to convey the original tone. The language also adds to the book's charm. Gómez, like many of his compatriots, arrived in the United States with a decent basic education, somejob skills (in his case, bookkeeping), limited English, and a great deal of resourcefulness. His willingness to travel around the state for employment and turn his hand to the new demands ofopportunity led to lucrative 1 20Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly contracts organizing the clearing ofwoodland and moving stone for construction and railroad companies. As such, Gomez's experience demonstrates how Mexican workers made significant contributions to the building of Texas's economy and infrastructure. These stories contain strains ofmelancholy when talk turns to family ties south of the border and to Mexican history and the land lost to the United States. They also speak ofMexican workers deceived by company con men and die unpredictable nature of their legal rights, along with brushes with violence that reveal the racism endemic to the time and place. A black brakeman, for instance, comes in for some stinging rebukes from Gómez. However, the harsh language is brought on by the fact that the man is brandishing a pistol and forcing Gómez tojump from a train. But the pages also sparkle with references to the enjoyment offood and drink, the warmth of companionship and the generosity of both Anglos and Hispanics, all of whom are trying to move themselves and the state forward. Crossing the Rio Grandeprovides a valuable and accessible resource to a reader...


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